NY Post editorial: Democrats must confirm Bolton "to demonstrate to America's enemies that they don't have allies on Capitol Hill"

››› ››› RAPHAEL SCHWEBER-KOREN

A November 13 New York Post editorial argued that Democrats "have an obligation to demonstrate conclusively to America's enemies that they don't have allies on Capitol Hill," but have "sent precisely the opposite signal" by indicating they will block John Bolton's nomination as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. The editorial approvingly noted Sen. George Voinovich's (R-OH) "warning" that he could not "imagine a worse message to send to the terrorists and to other nations deciding whether to engage in [fighting terrorism] than to . . . replace" Bolton. The editorial then asserted that this was not an "idle warning," citing recent statements by Iran, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Al Qaeda in Iraq, and "former Gitmo [Guantánamo Bay] detainees [who] moved to bring criminal charges in Germany against top Bush administration officials." The statements, the editorial argued, represented not only a "postelection pile-on against" President Bush, but "may also represent a genuine belief that the Democrats ... will go soft in the War on Terror."

Similarly, on the November 11 edition of Fox News' The Beltway Boys, co-host and Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes said that Democrats' efforts "to dump John Bolton [are] purely vindictive," and that "[a]ny reasonable person, Republican or Democrat, who looks at the job he has done there [at the United Nations], would have to say he's done a fantastic job in promoting America's interests there." Barnes was belatedly responding to Beltway Boys co-host and Roll Call executive editor Morton M. Kondracke, who said that "the first sign that sweetness and light is not going to prevail was the Senate Democrats' decision not to ... confirm John Bolton," who Kondracke claimed has "done a very good job." Neither Barnes nor Kondracke mentioned that Bolton's confirmation is also opposed by Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), who recently lost his bid for re-election. Chafee sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and his opposition to Bolton's confirmation, along with the opposition of all of the committee's eight Democratic members, has prevented Bolton's nomination from gaining the support of a majority of the 18-member committee.

From the November 13 New York Post editorial titled "Are Dems Bolton Already?":

Ohio GOP Sen. George Voinovich, who first opposed Bolton, has since switched sides, hailing his performance and warning that he "cannot imagine a worse message to send to the terrorists and to other nations deciding whether to engage in [fighting terrorism] than to . . . replace the person our president has entrusted to lead our nation at the United Nations."

That's not an idle warning. Last week, Tehran called Tueday's [sic] elections a victory for Iran, Chavez called for Bush's execution, al Qaeda in Iraq said it wouldn't rest until it blew up the White House, and former Gitmo detainees moved to bring criminal charges in Germany against top Bush administration officials.

Much of this, of course, is little more than a postelection pile-on against a president seen as a powerless lame duck. But it may also represent a genuine belief that the Democrats, who campaigned against every aspect of Bush's foreign policy, will go soft in the War on Terror.

Democrats have an obligation to demonstrate conclusively to America's enemies that they don't have allies on Capitol Hill. By moving so swiftly to torpedo John Bolton, they've sent precisely the opposite signal.

From the November 11 edition of Fox News' The Beltway Boys:

KONDRACKE: Well, the first sign that sweetness and light is not going to prevail was the Senate Democrats' decision not to reconfirm -- or confirm John Bolton as the U.N. ambassador. He's done a very good job. I mean, he's basically been a negotiator. He hasn't been an ideologue, and he should have been -- he should have been retained.

But I think that what the Republicans and the Democrats are saying right now is what the country desperately wants: to get stuff done on entitlements and on health care reform and that sort of thing. I'm afraid that they're just so ideologically hidebound; for example, to have a deal on entitlements, you'd have -- the Republicans would have to agree to raise taxes and the Democrats would have to agree to --

[crosstalk]

BARNES: Private investment accounts.

KONDRACKE: -- means test, means test or something like that, and it's just not in the cards in the next two years.

BARNES: Look. Trying to dump John Bolton is purely vindictive. I mean, I think, -- I mean, any reasonable person, Republican or Democrat, who looks at the job he has done there, would have to say he's done a fantastic job in promoting America's interests there. And I hope President Bush gives him another recess appointment, which I think would be perfectly legal.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy
Network/Outlet
New York Post
Person
Mort Kondracke, Fred Barnes
Show/Publication
FOX News Watch, The Beltway Boys
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